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Dr. Jeffrey R. Hunek, founder of Venice Avenue Dermatology, at the beach with his son.

Featured Article

For Summer Adventures Make Sun Protection A Priority

Venice Avenue Dermatology Founder Shares Simple Tips For Being 'Sun Safe' While Having Outdoors Summer Fun

Article by Monica Hunek

Photography by Venice Avenue Dermatology

Originally published in Venice City Lifestyle

It’s summertime and the living is easy. School’s out, snowbirds have flown North and it’s time to let the adventures begin! No matter where your summer fun takes you, sunscreen and sun protective gear should be part of the equation.

“We love spending time outdoors and on the water--the beach, the pool, the golf course,” says board-certified dermatologist Jeffrey R. Hunek, M.D., founder of Venice Avenue Dermatology. “But people of all ages really must be diligent with the sunscreen and sun protection. Skin cancer doesn’t accept excuses.”

Dr. Hunek's best practices for staying sun safe while enjoying outdoor activities start with protective clothing. Choose lightweight sun protective cloth with a tight weave and a UPF rating of 50 or higher. Include a wide-brimmed hat. Carry your shade with you and wear a hat with a 7” or wider brim – all the way around. The skin on your face and neck will thank you. Find the SPF 30 or higher sunscreen you like best and use it every day - on all exposed skin. Lay it on thick. Make sure you use at least a shot glass full (1 oz.) each time you apply. If a bottle lasts more than a few outings, you’re probably not using it correctly. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. Avoid using expired products as they can be ineffective. Avoid peak sun hours, usually between 10 AM and 2 PM. If you can’t avoid peak hours, seek shade. Bring a UV protective umbrella or other portable pop-up tent or shade structure.

Dr. Hunek and all the providers at Venice Avenue Dermatology take sun protection seriously - and they think you should, too. Caring for patients on Florida’s Southwest coast for nearly two decades, they have seen what can happen, from sunburns to skin cancer, when sun protection falls off the priority list. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the risk for melanoma doubles if you’ve had more than five sunburns.

“There’s no such thing as a healthy tan. A sunburn or any change in color to your skin following UV exposure is a sign of damage,” says Dr. Hunek, who recommends monthly self-skin exams, followed by an annual checkup with a board-certified dermatologist. Even if you don’t notice a change, Dr. Hunek says that it helps to get a second pair of professional eyes on your skin yearly. Protection and early detection are the key.

“Go out and enjoy your time in the sun doing all those activities you love, just be smart about it,” advises Hunek. “I like to say that tans are for tourists. We locals know how to practice safe sun.”

897 East Venice Avenue, Venice. 941.486.1404. VeniceAveDerm.com

  • The author's son at the beach.
  • Dr. Jeffrey R. Hunek, founder of Venice Avenue Dermatology, at the beach with his son.
  • The author's daughter enjoying a kayaking trip.